(Flint, Mich)– Flint Mayor Karen Weaver stood with Fire Chief Raymond Barton and dozens of Flint fire fighters in training today to provide details about an announcement the mayor said shows progress is being made.
“This is great news for the Fire Department and the City of Flint overall,” said Weaver.
Flint fire officials received official notification last week that a grant application they submitted had been approved. The department has been awarded $267,069 from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The grant will allow the department to obtain new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that meets standards set by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and replace current equipment that is obsolete. The funds will be used to purchase 34 full sets of new gear for fire fighters including coats, bunker pants, collars, helmets, oxygen tanks and face masks.
The department must still go through a bidding process before all of the equipment can be purchased. But, Chief Barton said it should arrive by the time the department’s 36 fire fighter candidates currently in training are ready to graduate in July.
“With the completion of the Fire Training Academy, the timing of this award is perfect,” said Barton. “This safety equipment is much needed and will help adequately outfit our fire fighters and will allow us to open Station 8 on Atherton Road fully staffed and equipped.”
Fire officials say the addition of the new equipment will help protect fire fighters who sacrifice their lives and their health everyday. Research shows that proper PPE increases firefighter safety by reducing exposure to harmful cancer causing byproducts and enhances their ability to better protect and serve the community.
“There is an alarming rate of cancer among our firefighters,” said Carrie Edwards-Clemons, Emergency Services Coordinator for the department. “We want our firefighters to be as safe as possible while they are working to keep the community safe. The new equipment will help us reduce exposure to harmful chemicals when out battling a fire, including chemicals known to cause cancer.”
“This is wonderful news for the citizens and the City of Flint,” Mayor Karen Weaver stated. “We appreciate Senators Stabenow and Peters, as well as Congressman Kildee and our State Representatives for their help and support to make this happen.”
In September 2016, City officials announced the Flint Fire Department had been once again been awarded the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant after the application, written primarily by Chief Barton and Carrie Edwards-Clemons, was approved. The SAFER Grant provided the department with $3,767,280 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to restore 33 positions. Those positions include the 36 candidates now in training to become City of Flint fire fighter EMTs and fire fighter EMT trainees who will soon come to the aid of Flint residents in need of help.
“I hope people can see we’ve really been working to move forward and make improvements in areas like public safety which we know matter most to the people of Flint,” said Weaver. “We’re trying to make some good things happen for the City, and this is a result of that.”